Archive | Hinky History

Selected Media Fads Through the Ages

Von Willendorf venus statue, circa 24,000 bce

24,000-22,000 BC: chunky fertility goddess statues (pictured at right: notice the prominent and large brains.)

10,000 BC: cave painting

4,000 BC: ziggurat construction

3,000-1,250 BC: pyramid raising (later revived by Mesoamericans and I.M. Pei)

1480-1700: Witch burning

1500s: homoerotic sonnet writing

1600s: pirate singing

1700s: pamphleteering

1760-1762: spreading syphilis

1790s: opera

1800s: novel-writing

1900-1914: being optimistic about the future

1919-1922: cutting up pieces of paper and pulling them out of a hat, also, painting

1925: jazz music

1927: soap-based radio

1933: burning books (mostly in Germany)

1951: find-the-commie (kind of like peek-a-boo, but with Senators)

1964: screaming (usually Beatle-related)

1966: TV

1976: disco

1977: DIY pet rocks

1982-1988: taking odds on Reagan-related nuclear holocaust

1987-1997: making answering machine messages (see below)

1998: web sites about your cat

1999: cappuccino drinking (related to dot-com bubble)

2000: looking forward to the future (this didn’t last as long as the previous fad in this genre)

2003: Friendster

2004-2005: blogging

2006: MySpace

2007: Facebook

April 2008: Twitter

2009 (Jan.-Aug): talking/writing/broadcasting about Twitter in MSM.

2009, Sep. 15: Blogging (again, briefly, but only about Dan Brown’s latest “masterstroke of storytelling”

2010 (Jan.-Feb.):getting really excited about the release of the iPad.

2010 (Mar.): trying to remember what all the fuss about the iPad was all about.

2010: “winning

2011: pretending the British Royal family is important

2012: posting pictures of every frickin’ meal on Instagram

2013: twerking

2014: “binge-watching” TV

2015: laughing about Donald Trump’s presidential run

Jan-May, 2016: crying about Donald Trump’s presidential run

Some old-fashioned media here — satirical novels and flash fiction to keep you from the fads!

And yes, Answering machine messages were the most important creative outlet of the nineties!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KH7nJns39c[/youtube]

Video here if it doesn’t beep.

Alltop and enjoys their Bebo. From my collection, Pirate Therapy and Other Cures. Originally published in 2010, and updated every once in a while.

Byron’s Epic Swims: Leaving England

Lord Byron, about to do something spectacularThough most famous for his poetry, war heroics, and womanizing, Lord Byron’s greatest achievements all took place in the water.

He was born with a deformity in his right foot, or as it was so sensitively known in the 18th and 19th centuries, a “club foot”. This physical imperfection caused Bryon at least as much psychological pain as it did physical pain, and though he limped, it was often not noticeable to casual observers. Still, he was aware of this limitation, and he overcompensated wildly, throwing himself into violent exercise, trying to play cricket (surely something one does only because of a serious psychological problem), and by swimming.

In the water, his malformed foot became an asset, as it worked much like a flipper. In the water, Lord Byron found that he was at least as god-like as he was while composing romantic poetry, or shocking the British public with his wanton pursuit of married women and other (male) poets. After all, it was this scandalous lifestyle that forced Byron to abandon the UK.

Lord Bryon's first epic swim

In his first epic swim, Byron did the breast-stroke down the Thames River, the back-stroke along the coastline to Dover, and then he did a truly breathtaking sprint of butterfly across the English channel. From there he swam up the coast to the low countries (stopping in the evenings to woo eligible young French, Belgian and Dutch poetry aficionados.) At the mouth of the Rhine, Byron took a hard right turn and did front crawl, until he arrived at Strasbourg. (As far as historians have been able to recreate, this is the single longest swim he did in one go.) He spent a few days recovering in Strasbourg, and then made a series of short frenetic dog-paddles against a strong current, passing Basel, and then making another hard right up the River Aare, as far as Lake Neuchatel in Switzerland. He had heard that his personal physician, John William Polidori was holidaying on Lake Geneva (aka Lake Leman), so he took a short carriage-ride overland. It was there he met Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Godwin (who would later marry Shelley), and Claire Claremont.

When he wasn’t buggering Percy Bysshe senseless, and seducing the other guests at the Villa (he has some measure of success, except with Mary), Byron kept in shape by swimming the length of the lake. (It was also here that the Shelleys, Byron, and the others helped Mary begin writing Frankenstein, and Polidori was inspired to write Vampyre, arguably the first young adult vampire film. Byron was apparently the model for the seductive, super-powerful vampire.)

So Byron rested and recovered, which was a good thing, because soon he would start one of his most ambitious swims ever, through the Alps, from Switzerland to Venice.

Alltop prefers the wading pool. Originally published May, 2012.

Coordinates to Landing Zone XI

image of Da Vinci's The Last Supper

Famous Painting with SF Titles: Coordinates to Landing Zone XI

No doubt this painting is known to you by the title given to it by humans, L’Ultima Cena (The Last Supper). Purportedly, this work depicts the final meal eaten by Jesus and his apostles, specifically, the moment when Jesus reveals to them that one of them will betray him. They are shocked and outraged. Some of them faint. Judas looks particularly suspicious, and spills the salt. Yes, there’s tons of Christian interpretations for this painting, but they’re all just a cover for Da Vinci’s true purpose.

Da Vinci was the only surviving member of an advanced scouting party from the Betelgeuse Continuum, and he was starting to worry that all of his hard scouting work might go to waste. He had been living on Earth for many years, and the rest of his party had all succumbed to the dangers of Renaissance-age Italy: disease, poor hygiene, and of course, poetry. (The bipedal races of Betelgeuse have very low resistance to rhyming couplets.) He was legitimately worried that he might die before he could pass along his intelligence. And so, he had begun a great career of painting and sculpture to transmit his secrets to the Vanguard Fleet, which would no doubt come any day.

As many have speculated, this painting does have secret meaning. Dan Brown is way off. And there’s no hidden grail symbolism in it either. Giovanni Maria Pala had the theory that the position of the bread and hands represent the notes on a staff of music. This is the closest to the truth, for embedded withing the painting are the coordinates to what Da Vinci called “Landing Zone XI” — or LZ11, as it’s known to those of us in one of the secret societies devoted to preventing the coming Betelegeusian invasion. (This also explains the degradation of the painting.)

I would tell you where LZ11 is, but then the Betelgeusians would know, and that damned meddler Da Vinci would win.

To check out the gallery of SF Paintings with SF Titles, click here.

Alltop prefers Michelangelo.